Re-Examining the Role of State and Local Governments in Telecom Regulation

In enacting the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Congress did not consider carefully the role that states and localities should play in telecommunications regulation. Over the past ten years, rounds of litigation and technological change have undermined and challenged the basic premises of the jurisdictional framework set forth in the Communications Act of 1934. Under this historic framework, the protection of state and local autonomy remained paramount values whereas the emerging technological landscape-characterized by services provided over broadband and wireless networks-calls out for a harmonious nationwide regulatory system.

The challenge of designing a new regulatory architecture for telecommunications regulation presents Congress is one of several it will confront as it considers changes to the Telecommunications Act of 1996. To assist Congress in this undertaking, the Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF) has chartered a Digital Age Communications Act (DACA) project that, among other things, is developing a proposed new statutory framework to govern the role of state and local authorities in telecommunications regulation. At this conference, the drafters of this framework will present their conclusions and a series of leaders in government, academia, and industry will comment on their recommendations.

Schedule of Events
3:20-3:30 Welcome & Overview
Randy May
Chair of the Digital Age Communications Act

Presentation of DACA Jurisdictional Working Group
Kyle Dixon
Progress and Freedom Foundation Senior Fellow

The Role of States In Telecommunications Regulation
Bob Atkinson
Executive Director, Columbia Institute for Tele-Information

Steve Davis
Senior Vice President, Qwest Communications

T. Scott Thompson
Partner, Cole, Raywid & Braverman

Barry Smitherman
Commissioner, Texas Public Utilities Commission


The Role of Localities
Ken Fellman
Mayor of Arvada

Tom Nathan
Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Comcast Cable

Mark Williams
Partner, Cage, Williams, Abelman & Layden

Link Hoewing
Assistant Vice President, Technology Policy, Verizon

The Big Picture

Ray Gifford
President, Progress and Freedom Foundation

Jim Speta
Associate Professor, Northwestern School of Law

Paul Teske
Professor, University of Colorado-Graduate School of Public Affairs

Jessica Zufolo
Senior Policy Director, Medley Global Advisors

Reception 7:00-8:00